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Suspected carjacker arrested after fleeing through residential neighborhoods, police say

A man wanted in an armed carjacking investigation was arrested Wednesday after police say he led officers on a chase in Taylorsville and broke into an occupied home.

A man wanted in an armed carjacking investigation was arrested Wednesday after police say he led officers on a chase in Taylorsville and broke into an occupied home. (Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

TAYLORSVILLE — A man wanted in connection with an armed carjacking was arrested Wednesday after police say he fled from officers in the stolen vehicle and drove over lawns and into oncoming traffic in the process.

Xavier Contreras, 29, was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of burglary, being in a stolen vehicle, two counts of drug possession with intent to distribute, two counts of failing to stop at the command of police, possession of drug paraphernalia, driving on a denied license and possession of a weapon by a restricted person.

Taylorsville police spotted a man driving a stolen vehicle Wednesday. A police database noted that the car "was taken in a carjacking (out of West Valley City) and the occupants should be considered armed," according to a police booking affidavit.

After the vehicle parked near 5600 South and 3450 West, officers positioned themselves nearby with tire spikes in two places. After a man got back into the car and started to drive away, police followed.

When he approached the first set of tire spikes, Contreras put his vehicle in reverse, according to the affidavit.

"I activated my red and blue lights and exited my vehicle and ordered (Contreras) to stop the vehicle. He failed to do so and continued west, driving over a set of spikes," the arresting officer wrote.

"He continued to flee for several miles, driving left of center, driving over residential lawns, driving into oncoming traffic and into residential neighborhoods. Because of the great danger (he) placed on the community and the feeling his actions if continued would cause a fatal accident, the pursuit was terminated," the affidavit states.

Officers in unmarked patrol cars continued to follow Contreras until police say his vehicle "crashed on its own." Contreras then got out of the car and ran into a residential neighborhood and "forced his way into an occupied home with an adult female and infant child inside," the affidavit alleges.

Police say Contreras took the woman's purse and then ran out of the house where officers caught up with him and arrested him.

Officers searching Contreras reported finding distributable amounts of methamphetamine and heroin as well as a gun in the vehicle he was driving.

Contreras "has been arrested or suspected in numerous crimes in the last couple months. In several of the reports (he) has fled, placing the community, officers and himself at danger," police wrote in the affidavit. "Today (he) has shown that he was willing to drive into oncoming traffic to potentially kill innocent citizens to allow him to avoid apprehension. He fled in both residential neighborhoods and business areas at high rates of speeds and while driving recklessly."

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Pat Reavy is a longtime police and courts reporter. He joined the team in 2021 after many years of reporting for the Deseret News


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